Trump boasts about his controversial Scottish golf course, even though it loses $1 million a year and many locals despise it

PA via Getty ImagesDonald Trump at what later became the Trump International Scotland golf course in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, in 2011.
  • Donald Trump on Saturday posted glowing praise for the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland.
  • The golf course routinely posts losses in excess of $US1 million per year, a review of accounts by Business Insider found.
  • The course has enraged many locals, who have waged long-standing battles with Trump and his staff.
  • Large promises made by Trump that the course would turbocharge the local economy also remain unfulfilled.

President Donald Trump boasted on Saturday about his golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which he characterised as “perhaps the greatest” on earth, and an asset to US diplomacy.

However, his praise glossed over the controversial history of the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland.

The course has aroused pitched opposition from locals for years, and consistently posts annual financial losses in excess of $US1 million.

The President’s Saturday tweet said: “Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship!”

The tweet quoted a post from The Trump Organisation, which in turn quoted Dr Martin Hawtree, who said “The landscape framework of @TrumpScotland comes close to an ideal. There is nothing missing & there are no weak holes.”

Hawtree is a golf course architect whom Trump hired to design the Aberdeenshire course, and in the quotation he is effectively praising his own work.

Regardless of the quality of the golf course, it does not make any money.

A review by Business Insider of the accounts for Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which runs the course, found loses of between $US1 million and $US2.4 million for every year since it opened in 2012.

Here are the results:

2017: $US1,393,572 loss (£1,054,935) 2016: $US1,545,934 loss (£1,170,273) 2015: $US1,077,255 loss (£815,483) 2014: $US1,050,260 loss (£795,048) 2013: $US2,407,629 loss (£1,822,577) 2012: $US2,311,283 loss (£1,749,643)

The course has also aroused significant local opposition.

The Milne family, who live on a pocket of land inside the course which they refuse to sell, have spent years battling Trump, whose staff have threatened them with legal action.

Michael Forbes Trump golf course Aberdeenshire shedGetty ImagesMichael Forbes, a Scottish farmer, poses in front of his shed on a plot of land inside the Trump International Scotland development in 2012.

In 2016, The New York Times reported that Trump staff had built a fence along the border between their properties then sent them a bill, an apparent echo of Trump’s strategy for a border wall with Mexico.

Milne threw the bill in the trash, and often flies a Mexican flag from his home in solidarity.

Nearby, Michael Forbes, a farmer who rejected offers from Trump to sell his land, painted the words “NO GOLF COURSE” in large letters on a shed in a show of defiance.

An extensive BBC report details Trump’s struggles with Aberdeenshire locals and the authorities in Scotland, including the country’s natural heritage organisation, which says the course development wrecked a rare and pristine sand dune habitat.

It adds that some business leaders in the local area have praised Trump’s investments, but concludes that his promises of a tide of investment cash and thousands of jobs to the area are “far from fulfilled.”

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